Monday, November 1, 2010

Falling and I don't mean the leaves

So I write a post all about striving for balance and this weekend my tenuous grip on that balance was thrown off yet again. As many of you know, when Noah was 6 months old, I fell down the stairs while carrying him and broke his left leg. The break was relatively clean but was positioned on the growth plate right above his knee. (More here and here.)

That was a really difficult time for me. However, I moved on, we moved on, and Noah seemed to be doing fine. That was until last week when I got to preschool pick up a little early and had the chance to watch Noah run “races” with his little buddies. Now, I KNOW parents cannot, should not, compare their child’s development to his/her peers. Every kid is a unique snowflake, each develops at his/her own pace, yada yada. But what I saw watching Noah and his friends run after each other showed me, without a doubt, that Noah lags behind his classmates when it comes to running and walking. He falls down...a lot. He twists his legs while running when he should have more fluid movements. His gait is very unsteady. Although he was having a blast chasing after his friends, I nearly started to cry watching him run. I knew the next call I made was going to be to his pediatrician.

You know what the most wonderful thing is about a pediatrician who also happens to be your neighbor? House calls. Noah’s doctor stopped by yesterday afternoon and observed him running and walking. In five minutes and with almost no hesitation, he determined that it was Noah’s left leg that was causing the gait issues. And most likely a result of the break. Do you want to know what happened immediately after he left? TEARS. Lots and lots of tears. That visit broke the wall I had so carefully constructed around that day in February, 2009.

Our doctor hypothesized as to what possible treatments may be in store for us:
-A leg lengthening brace
-Special orthopedic shoes with a lift in one heel
-Physical therapy
-Nothing, depending on the outcome of x-rays

None of these options are life-threatening. None of these options will reduce his quality of life. Each of these options has the potential to help him walk and run better over time. I know deep down that this is just one of the many tests we face as parents and that he’ll be fine. Just fine. But, damnit, it doesn’t make me feel better. None of this would have happened if I wasn’t in such a hurry that day, if I had slowed down and paid more attention. I hurt my son that day (yes, unintentionally but still, I hurt him) and we’re still paying for it.

As time has gone by and separated me from the pain of that day and the days that followed, I found my resolve to slow down and focus on what’s right in front of me begin to weaken. Our calendar filled back up and we started rushing to get here, there, everywhere. We started cramming our weekends full of obligations from beginning to end, especially after I went back to work. I can’t do it anymore. My attention gets diverted from my family too easily by all the obligations and events and visits. I KNOW what happens when there is too much going on and not enough time to do it all. I’ve been in the emergency room’s x-ray room holding my six month old infant’s legs straight while the tech takes pictures of his fractured femur. I can still hear his frightened screams of pain. They haunt me.

I don’t mean to sound so “woe is me”. There are children with much more difficult trials and parents who are shouldering it all. I know Noah will be ok. I just thought I had learned my lesson a year and a half ago but it’s becoming clear to me that I didn’t learn anything. So, where do we go from here? We make the necessary appointments with the orthopaedic doctor. We listen, we learn, we help Noah the best way we can. We clear off our calendar a little more and spend more time taking care of our family. At the end of the day, this little guy is why I do everything I do...he really is my heart walking around outside my body.

I am the cutest fireman this side of the Mississippi, didn't you know? 
And don't even TRY to touch my candy.

(P.S. As I was getting off the train this afternoon a damn pigeon shit on my coat. I heard it "plop!" on my arm and I about lost my mind. It really was the icing on a craptastic day.)


pseudostoops said...

Aw man, seriously? A pigeon shat on you? I feel like there should be a rule that there is only so much shit, literal and metaphorical, that one person should have to deal with at a time and you, my dear? You are full up.

Noah is my favorite fireman ever.

L said...

Wow pigeon. RUDE.

AndreAnna said...

Aww, Sara, I'm so sorry. That's a gut-wrenching feeling that is just so hard to shake, no matter how much logic you throw at it.

I know you'll do what's best.

As for that pigeon? Ass.

k said...

Dude, I can't believe a pigeon poo-ed on you. Geesh--thumbs down.

As for you and as for Noah--I, to some degree, know what this feels like for you. To compare your child to others. To be recommended to special doctors. To wonder what the future will hold for your child physically. To feel like you could have prevented it all. It sucks and it's horrible and Time's reassurance is all that will help. Do not beat yourself up. Please.

Cupcake Mama said...

I believe pigeon poo brings good luck! Try not to beat yourself up as moms we tend to be so hard on ourselves. I beat myself up at every specialist appt that I did something wrong and should most definitely be stoned or publicly quartered. I understand how you feel and I think we all do it. I am amazed over and over again how resilient kids are and they take it all in stride. We all get tired and rush too much but can't blame us as we are busy fighting to give our children the best of ourselves and the world.

Rougie said...

Believe it or not, having a pigeon shit on you is good luck. I swear. Also? Cutest fireman. Ever.

Hillary said...

Oh honey. I just want to give you a hug. I hope you at least dropped an f-bomb or two on that damn pigeon.

maggie said...

I did not know and I'm so sorry. I'm SO SORRY and a pigeon too? I'm so so sorry.

bessie.viola said...

I'm so sorry... I know this feeling well. You will make the very best decisions for Noah, and like you said, he will be fine - but I know the way it hurts on the road to "fine." When Madeline was in physical therapy I beat myself up every day for my body's "failure." Be kind to yourself, okay?

I LOVE Noah's fireman outfit! And I HATE that pigeon for you. Seriously, bird? SO unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

I think that pigeon was just giving you the final punctuation on your story.

I'm so sorry about Noah and his leg. I fell on my kid's face onto the driveway when she was about 14 months old and completely removed all the skin from one side of her face. Thankfully you cannot see the scar and I'm the only one who notices it's the first place that turns pink when she's flushed. I don't mean to compare the urgency of the stories, just that I do understand the guilt at having been the one to cause the damage. But you will both be okay. Better than okay. Fabulous!